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Whereas developed countries are almost always the product of an organic, internally driven process, in the Middle East’s case, the countries are mostly the product of a British-French agreement made in 1916 Sykes-Picot that paid little attention to local sociopolitical realities. As a result, few possess the historical roots, social cohesion, and legitimacy necessary to nurture the complex institutions that are a prerequisite for development and democracy. On the contrary, most suffer from both sectarian divisions and weak government—the causes of state fragility.


The social divisions, weak institutionalization, and artificiality that plague all these states begs the question that I posed at the top: If people in the Middle East could democratically choose what country they lived in, would they choose the one they are in now?